SLIDE SHOW: South of England Show

This picture of five strapping lads with their hammers and ‘One Direction’ good looks sums up this year’s South of England Show.

The farriers donned vests to show off their muscles in the sunshine in a showbiz pose that reflected everything that was good about this year’s bumper event.

South of England Show Summer Show 2013

South of England Show Summer Show 2013

Numbers were up by 3,000 on last year with nearly 70,000 people pouring into the Ardingly South of England Showground.

The weather was also good for the show for the first time for six years - with the exception of an unforecast two-hour thounderstorm and accompanying downpour on Friday.

A showbiz touch was also present in the shape of TV sitcom star Penelope Keith who opened the three days of countryside fun and competition as president of the South of England Agricultural Society.

The star of the Seventies’ sitcom, The Good Life, said: “The show has been a huge success this year and we are thrilled with the support of people - from both town and country - for our region’s farmers and others in the rural industries.”

South of England Show Summer Show 2013

South of England Show Summer Show 2013

Penelope opened the show at the new World of Poultry exhibit, created by the Arun Valley Poultry Fanciers from Worthing, who also won Best Trade Exhibit for their display of poultry from across the world.

There was a micro-sized Shetland Grand National on Saturday, with young competitors racing for charity and crowds enjoying a wealth of spectacular displays in the four arenas including showjumping, Young Farmers Club tug of war, duck herding, Bolddog Lings motorcycle stunts and much more.

Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames also opened public voting for the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2013/14, seeking the county’s best food and drink businesses.

There was a pitch invasion of children running with the gentle giant foxhound packs in the Ardingly Ring on Saturday and the 150-acre showground was alive with hundreds of competitions from best cattle, sheep, pig and goat breeds to countryside skills, including the Young Craftsman of the Year and the farriers’ horse shoeing competitions.

Penelope Keith said: “We all want to eat quality British food and enjoy our beautiful countryside so we need to support our agricultural community.

“During the three days we have also enjoyed celebrating the great traditions of the country, some superb displays and performances, lots of fun and games and great shopping.”

See more on the show and some fabulous pictures of the crowds and the competitors in this week’s Mid Sussex Times out on Thursday